No charges have yet been filed against Fair Haven Fire Chief Shaun Foley following an accident and apparent suicide attempt that brought a phalanx of rescuers to the Oceanic Bridge in Rumson Sunday evening, according to Rumson Police Chief Ricky Tobias.
A search-and-rescue operation that entailed three helicopters and a team of divers resulted in Foley being fished safely out of the dark waters of the Navesink River after about 45 minutes, Tobias tells redbankgreen.
Foley, who is also a police dispatcher and special officer in the Rumson police department, is reported to be in fair condition at Jersey Shore Medical Center in Neptune and is expected to be released this afternoon, Tobias says.
Foley’s rescue ended a series of events that began shortly before 6p, when he allegedly crashed his fire chief’s vehicle into a telephone pole on the 90 block of East River Road, not far from borough hall. He then fled the scene on foot, Tobias said.
Nearby police were called in to help find the driver in an expanded search, Tobias said. Shortly thereafter, Little Silver Patrolman Gregory Oliva spotted a man who turned out to be Foley on the west side of the Oceanic Bridge, just north of the center bascule span, on the Middletown side. There is no sidewalk on that side of the bridge.
The bridge is three-quarters to a mile from the accident scene, Tobias said.
Tobias said Oliva tried to talk Foley into his vehicle, but Foley jumped over the bridge’s west railing into the river.
A call for mutual aid and assistance from elsewhere brought in the Fair Haven fire company’s dive team and helicopters from the Coast Guard, the state police and Monmouth County, among numerous other agencies, Tobias said.
“He was in the water, and we didn’t know who could make it here first,” Tobias said.
Police closed the bridge to traffic, and there were soon so many fire trucks and other large vehicles that exceeded the bridge’s temporary three-ton weight limit that some of them had to be moved off the span and others spaced so as to not stress the bascule, he said. The limit effectively bans trucks.
Foley was found about 300 yards west of the bridge by the dive team and others after about 45 minutes, Tobias said. he had apparently been carried on an incoming tide, he said.
Foley, a longtime Fair Haven resident, is 27 years old. He was hired by the Rumson police department in 2005, Tobias said.
Charges are pending, Tobias said.